Posted 17 November 2022
Punjab is one of the top tourist destinations in the country due to its rich culture and history, breathtaking pieces of architecture and delicious cuisine. The whole-heartedness of the Punjabi folk is well-known. A tour of Punjab is a complete experience. You get to walk through the Jallianwala Bagh Garden, soaking in the place's history. Or, dip in Golden Temple's holy waters to cleanse your soul, and even the most avid health-conscious people cannot resist digging into a bowl of fragrant butter chicken and naan.
The word Punjab has been derived from two words – 'Punj' (five) and 'Aab' (water). It means "Land of five rivers". The nomenclature was true to undivided Punjab, where the five rivers, Sutlej, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Jhelum, used to flow.
Punjab has very fertile soil, and hence, the chief occupation here is agriculture. It is fondly called "the Bread Basket of India". The vast green fields here are sure to take your breath away. One can enjoy feasting his/her eyes on the sun-baked mustard fields similar to the ones in the iconic movie DDLJ.
Punjabis take their food very seriously. Punjabi cuisine is carefully prepared with passion using various spices and condiments. The cuisine is rich and loaded with flavours. Much Pakistani influence has been incorporated into Punjabi cuisine over the years, thus resulting in a beautiful blend of cultures. When in Punjab, do not forget to try out some extremely popular Punjabi dishes. Any visit to this state is incomplete without relishing the authentic Punjabi flavours.
So, what are the famous dishes to try in Punjab? Let's find out!!
It's arguably the most popular Punjabi dish. Restaurants across the country and often across the world try to recreate this iconic dish in their kitchens. With its creamy texture, succulent pieces of meat, the authentic aroma of kasuri methi and a lot of butter, this dish is sure to blow your mind. It goes well with rumaali roti or naan.
Punjabis take pride in their lassi, and it is made in every household and every restaurant in Punjab. Originally, lassi consumed in Punjab is sweet and creamy, with a generous serving of malai (cream) on top. Lassi comes in various flavours like mango, strawberry and rose. It is the ideal drink to consume to refresh you on a hot summer day filled with sightseeing activities.
These two are a match made in heaven. This iconic dish is now found in most north Indian restaurants and is extremely popular. Bhature is quite different from the regular 'puri'. It has a more spongy texture and is traditionally larger than puri. Spicy, yummy chole masala accompanies it, prepared using chickpea and various spices. If you happen to like spicy food, then chole bhature shall surely sweep you off your feet.
Most of us have had paratha at least once in our life. But, authentic Punjabi parathas flavour, fried in generous quantities of desi ghee, shall be a treat for your taste buds. This is one of most Punjabi households' staple foods.
Parathas come with various stuffings. Aalu paratha (potato-stuffed paratha), paneer paratha (cottage cheese stuffed paratha) and gobi paratha (cauliflower stuffed paratha) are some of the most popular options available. These days, chefs are experimenting with unconventional stuffings like minced chicken or mutton.
Punjabis's love for butter is absolute. They like to put it in most cuisines. Dal makhani is a gravy item made of lentils (usually the black ones) and red kidney beans. It is prepared using generous portions of butter and cream. It has traditionally been made on a low flame, bringing out the flavours very well.
Non-vegetarians shall find themselves yielding to their cravings in the land of Punjab. As there are ample non-vegetarian options to choose from. One of them is the famous Amritsari fish. This appetizer is said to have originated from the Mughal kitchens during the reign of Emperor Akbar. It is usually cooked with fish fillets from Sole fish or Singhara fish. To make the crispy outer coating, a spicy batter of rice flour containing mustard oil and other spices is used. This item creates an explosion of flavours as the juicy fish melts in your mouth.
Punjabi cuisine also offers a lot to vegetarians. Sarson da saag is typically a winter delicacy and is usually found in most Punjabi restaurants. It is prepared using the mustard plant's leaves. Sometimes, spinach is also added to it. It involves using a generous portion of desi ghee to enhance the taste.
Much like chole bhature, sarson da saag and makke di roti go hand in hand. This is a flat bread made from makka (maize flour). It is prepared in a tawa or a tandoor. Though traditionally paired with sarson da saag, it also goes well with any other form of 'saag' (leafy vegetables). It is generally served with a few cubes of gur (jaggery).
After having a sumptuous main course, it's time for some dessert. Pinni is a sweet, savoury dish prepared using desi ghee, jaggery (gur) and wheat flour. It is garnished with various dry fruits such as almonds and pistachios. This dish is typically made in the winter. The rich mixture of ingredients provides a lot of energy and the heat required for cold nights in Punjab. One should consume it moderately since the richness of the ingredients might make you fall sick if consumed in large amounts.
It is the prashad that is distributed at the Gurudwara. Prepared with whole wheat flour, ghee and sugar, this dish could very well be one of the tastiest desserts one has ever tasted. This delicious halwa is pure love.
The world-famous Golden Temple is situated here. It is also known as the Harmandir Sahib. It is the spiritual hub of the Sikh. A dip in the holy waters of this temple shall cleanse your soul and calm your mind. The architecture has a combination of both Hindu as well as Muslim influences. The lower portion is made of marble, while the upper level is made of beautiful gold panels. The dome of the Gurudwara is made up of 750 kg of gold. Photography is prohibited in the inner sanctum. It is the home of the Adi Granth, the holy book of the Sikh community.
It is a 5-minute walk from the Golden Temple. It is the place of the 1919 massacre that took over 200 innocent lives, including those of children and women. One can see the bullet marks on the walls even today. The Martyr Well reminds one how the innocent civilians had jumped into the well in a futile attempt to save their lives. An eternal flame burns round the clock in memory of the thousands of lives lost on an eventful day.
The Radcliffe line separates India and Pakistan that divided the village of Wagah between these two neighbouring countries. The Wagah Road is a very important one since it connects two countries today. Daily, the border at Wagah is ceremoniously closed with a march, salute and lowering of flags by soldiers of both countries. All cellular signals are jammed here due to security reasons. The best time to visit this place would be between 4 pm and 6 pm. This way, one gets to witness soldiers of two countries ceremoniously conclude a day by saluting each other.
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It is the capital city of Punjab. It is a planned city and an example of rapid modernization and is one of the cleanest cities in the country. One can simply spend time lounging at a café, relaxing by a lake or splurging on commodities at a luxurious shopping mall. The city is extremely well-connected via road, rail and even has an airport. One can visit the Rock Garden, Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, International Dolls Museum, Pinjor Garden or simply spend some quality time with his/her loved ones sitting by the Sukhna Lake.
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Here, you get to see the lifestyle of the locals, visit the vast agricultural fields and enjoy the stunning city. Places to visit here include the Museum of Rural Life, Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum and Phillaur Fort.
Bhatinda is the city of lakes. This city has a rich history. Rulers like Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhannad Ghori have ruled this city. Popular tourist spots here include Qila Mubarak, Rose garden and Jogger's Park.
Make sure to carry your essentials. But, do not go overboard with your luggage. Carry only the amount of clothes that you plan to wear and not more. Moving around with a heavy backpack or travel case is not a very pleasant experience.
Do not forget to carry a medical kit containing essential medical supplies and first-aid. Some pain-relieving medication as well as medicines for stomach problems should find a place in your kit.
Wear comfortable clothing at all times, especially if you are travelling during the summer months. Light-coloured clothing is preferable in the hot months.
Sightseeing in Punjab might involve walking around a bit. Hence, it is advisable to wear comfortable footwear to avoid those ugly blisters.
No trip to Punjab is complete without a sumptuous meal at langar at a Gurudwara. These are free kitchens where food is served to anybody and everybody to arrive there.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to the colourful state of Punjab now! Run through the mustard fields, enjoy the lip-smacking food, pray at the Golden Temple and shop for vibrant dupattas to your heart's content.
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